The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has charged oil marketers to shun anti-competitive conducts due to the downstream sector’s importance to the economy.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman, FCCPC, gave the charge at a workshop organised by the commission in collaboration with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Irukera noted that the petroleum industry was very important to the development of the country and any form of volatility in prices of petroleum products affected other sectors of the economy.
He said anti-competitive conducts such as restrictive agreements (cartels), abuse of dominance and mergers violate the provisions of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 2018.
According to him, the commission has a duty to protect consumers from any form of exploitation by marketers and will continue to engage with MOMAN to enforce compliance.
Irukera said the workshop was an opportunity for the commission and the marketers to develop a regulatory map that will guide the market going forward.
Also, Mr Olumide Adeosun, Chairman, MOMAN, said the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act presents limitless opportunities for the downstream sector if properly implemented.
Adeosun said MOMAN members were committed to adhering to the objective of the FCCPA which included promoting and maintaining competitive markets in the Nigerian economy and promoting economic efficiency.
He said they were also committed to protecting and promoting the interests and welfare of consumers by providing consumers with a wider variety of quality products at competitive prices and contributing to sustainable national development.
The MOMAN chairman also reiterated that the association was not a cartel and was not involved in the manipulation of the prices of petroleum products especially Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the country
Adeosun said MOMAN was working towards the development of a sustainable downstream sector with members sharing infrastructure such as depots and pipelines for cost optimization.
On his part, Mr. Clement Isong, Chief Executive Officer, MOMAN, said the overall goal of the workshop was to sensitize marketers on what constitutes anti-competitive and antitrust behaviour within the sector.
Isong said the FCCPC exists to protect consumers, adding that collaboration between both parties would help improve service delivery in the petroleum industry.
He, however, noted that fixing prices for petroleum products by the Federal Government was anti-competitive, stressing that the sector must be liberalised to attract more investments.